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Jobs numbers don’t look good


Junes jobs numbers came out today and not all the news is good. While private jobs growth was positive, 83,000, the overall jobs growth was negative, 125,000.

This reflects all those temporary Census jobs that the administration flouted last month as being….temporary, and not indicative of real growth. I can’t blame the Administration for grasping on to anything. But they did create the uncertainty in the economy that fosters anemic growth. Robert Higgs’ seminal paper tells the tale of how governments can create an environment where no one wants to invest. With only 83k jobs from the private sector, it seems like we have the same thing going on today.

The other headline, the one that is going to be touted by the Administration is that the unemployment percentage went down to 9.5%. Don’t let this fool you. It has more to do with how the BLS calculated it’s unemployment numbers more than anything good happening in the economy.

In June, about 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, an increase of 415,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 1.2 million discouraged workers in June, up by 414,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

The only reason the total unemployment percentage went down is because millions of Americans have given up on looking for work, so they aren’t counted as unemployed. Remember to never trust government numbers completely, they have a huge political stake to make the numbers look as good as possible.

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